Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Our Maternity/Family Photo Session at Liberty State Park

"Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat."
(Laura Ingalls Wilder)

A few weeks ago, we did a maternity/family photo shoot overlooking the NYC skyline at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ with Nelson Lee Photography. It was originally scheduled to take place 2 weeks earlier, but the weather was stormy and hard to predict, and we couldn't be sure that it wasn't going to be a total wash-out so our photographer wanted to reschedule. The day we all met at Liberty State Park, it looked cloudy and ominous in various areas nearby, but the clouds ended up adding dimension to the photos; and even though it was a very hot and sticky August afternoon, it was also very windy since we were right by the water, and that cooled us down a bit (even if it completely messed up my hair).

We each wore 2 outfits. I wore: 1) a short-sleeve black lace PinkBlush Maternity dress with a brown braided leather bow belt, which I believe I purchased at Anthropologie a few years back, and 2) a pale pink striped lace neckline top from PinkBlush Maternity with Jessica Simpson for Motherhood Maternity jeans; along with different shoes and jewelry. Ava wore: 1) a Pale Cloud studded silk tank top with a tutu skirt and headband from Target, and 2) a pale pink crochet-top chiffon dress from Victoria Kids with one of her many headbands; along with nude and pink fringe moccasins from Monkey Feet. To coordinate, Sam wore a dressier outfit and then changed into a more casual one.

I had also brought along the ivory lace maternity gown I wore when I was pregnant with Ava 2 years ago, with a different floral maternity sash, but after our shoot got underway I didn't feel like changing outfits again, plus I wasn't comfortable with so many people around. (For previous pictures, please see "Our Maternity Photo Session at Heritage Park.")

Even though this isn't my 1st pregnancy, I still feel that each pregnancy should be celebrated, and I would definitely recommend having professional photos taken to commemorate such an important and life-changing time. It was so much more challenging having Ava there this time around -- since she's such a spirited little girl that cannot be tamed! -- but the photo session was also a way to capture precious family moments with her before her life officially changes forever.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Full-Term Update with Baby Girl #2

"Don't count the days. Make the days count."
(Muhammad Ali)

I'm already 37 weeks plus a couple days pregnant now, which means that baby girl is full-term and may come at any time now. There have been some recent concerns about her growth, but we're trusting in God's plan and timing. As prepared as we would like to be, whatever needs to happen and when, we'll just have to make it work! (Here is my previous post from this point during my pregnancy with Ava: "Full-Term Update, Plus Great Things About Being Due in November.")

27 Weeks, 3rd Trimester
  • Baby is the size of a head of lettuce.
  • Lungs are going through major developments, which (combined with the opening of previously plugged nostrils) means she's now able to practice inhaling and exhaling.
  • Started drinking raspberry leaf pregnancy tea.
  • Symptoms: Nighttime congestion returned this week; also started feeling sharp pains (like a pulled muscle or bruised rib) when overeating, probably due to less space.
  • Cravings: Not many specific cravings, but felt very hungry all day even though I'm eating a lot.

27w3d baby bump with Starbucks secret purple drink
27w6d with Ava on the 4th of July

28 Weeks
  • Appointment on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 (28w0d): Drank glucola beverage shortly before 9 AM, got to OB office by 9:30 AM, had blood drawn by 10 AM. Weight, blood pressure, urine sample taken. NP measured me and checked baby's heart rate (155 bpm); told me to return in 4 weeks, which will be my last monthly visit.
  • 3D ultrasound on Saturday, July 9, 2016 (28w4d): Based on measurements, baby weighs around 2 lbs. 8 oz.; heart rate of 143 bpm.
  • Received phone call on Monday, July 11, 2016 (28w6d; missed initial call on Thursday) saying that I failed the 1-hour glucose tolerance test and had to take the 3-hour test.
  • Baby is the size of an eggplant.
  • Is breathing and showing brain activity, lungs are maturing, and skin is still pretty wrinkly (from living in amniotic fluid) but will smoothen as fat continues to deposit.
  • Symptoms: Congestion.
  • Cravings: Chocolate (hot cocoa, ice cream, croissants).

1-hour glucose tolerance test at 28w0d
3D ultrasound at 28w4d (looks like her daddy!)

29 Weeks
  • Appointment on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 (29w1d): Went in at 7:45 AM, had 1st blood draw at 7:50 AM; drank glucola beverage around 7:55 AM; 2nd blood draw at 8:55 AM; 3rd blood draw at 9:55 AM; 4th blood draw at 10:55 AM.
  • Received call the next day saying that my results were normal.
  • Started using pregnancy wedge pillow at night.
  • Baby is the size of an acorn squash.
  • Her energy is surging, thanks to white fat depositing beneath the skin, and she's growing fast (weight will triple before birth).

3-hour glucose tolerance test at 29w1d
Squeezing into a non-maternity dress at 29w4d

30 Weeks, 3/4 of the way there
  • Baby is the size of a zucchini.
  • She is moving a lot and plumping up; skin is smoothing out; increased surface area of grooves and indentations in her brain making more room for essential brain tissue; her grip is strong enough to grasp a finger.
  • Symptoms: Nighttime congestion started up again after being almost congestion-free for June and half of July.

Cucumber (or zucchini) baby bump at 30w2d

31 Weeks
  • Video clip of movement at 31w1d.
  • Baby is the size of a bunch of asparagus.
  • Going through major brain and nerve development; eye development, as irises now react to light; and all 5 senses are in working order.
  • Symptoms: Congestion, back aches at night, baby dropping and causing more pressure, feeling stronger movements and kicks on right side.

Polka dots with my mini-me at 31w6d (on my birthday)

32 Weeks
  • Appointment on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 (32w0d): Weight, blood pressure, urine sample taken. OB (male) measured me and checked baby's heart rate (144 bpm); said she was head-down; estimated that she will weigh 6.5-7 lbs. at birth.
  • Baby is the size of a squash.
  • She's getting ready to emerge, and has even less space as she tries to fit in my increasingly cramped womb and prepare for her eventual descent.
  • Symptoms: Congestion, feeling kicks much stronger and closer to surface, on the verge of leg cramps.

Looking large at 32w4d!

33 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a bunch of celery.
  • She may grow up to a full inch this week alone, and is going through more major brain development; soon, she'll be able to coordinate breathing with sucking and swallowing; her bones are hardening, and she has started to keep her eyes open when awake.
  • Symptoms: Congestion; a lot of baby movement; feeling overheated at night; on the verge of leg cramps; nose bleeds; itchiness of skin around left hip.
  • My sister and a few close girlfriends celebrated with a lovely baby sprinkle at Bosie Tea Parlor in NYC.

Afternoon tea baby sprinkle at 33w4d
(Image: Leslie Y.)
Invitation, favors, and thank you card

34 Weeks
  • Appointment on Tuesday, August 16, 2016 (34w0d): Weight, blood pressure, urine sample taken. OB (male) checked baby's heart rate (155 bpm); said she was head-down; estimated that she will weigh a little more than Ava did at birth. Next appointment in 2 weeks, which will be my last biweekly visit.
  • Maternity photo session at 34w4d in Liberty State Park: I'll do a separate post with more photos.
  • Baby is the size of a butternut squash.
  • She can recognize and react to simple songs, and may find them soothing after birth; also urinates about 1 pint per day.
  • Symptoms: Episode of dizziness/light-headedness/difficulty focusing eyes; increased lower body pressure and discomfort; overheating at night; congestion; acid reflux.
  • Cravings: Fall flavors (like pumpkin), Thai food.

Maternity/family photo shoot outfits for me and Ava

35 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a pineapple.
  • She won't get much longer, but will put on a pound or more of baby fat before birth; her hearing is totally developed, and she responds best to high-pitched noises.
  • Video clip of movement at 35w5d.
  • Symptoms: Congestion; cold/allergy symptoms; insomnia; overheating; on verge of leg cramp (right calf); abdominal tightness; acid reflux.

35w5d before dinner for my niece's 4th birthday
Video of movement at 35w5d

36 Weeks
  • Appointment on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 (36w0d): Weight, blood pressure, urine sample taken. NP measured me and checked baby's heart rate (150 bpm); took Group B strep culture; had blood drawn for hemoglobin.
  • Baby is the size of a papaya.
  • Her skin is getting smooth and soft, gums are rigid, liver and kidneys are in working order, and circulation and immune system are good to go, and she's getting closer to being able to breathe on her own.
  • Symptoms: Congestion, insomnia, acid reflux, leg cramp (left shin area).

Our last pool day of the summer at 36w0d
Ava's smile gets bigger and bigger :D
Trying the new chile mocha drink on Labor Day at 36w6d

I can't believe we're almost at the end of this part of the journey! I need to have the new car seat installed, pack my hospital bag, organize some baby clothes, clean and de-clutter the apartment... The list goes on and on. So much to do, so little time.